The Small Golden Ring / 5D

5 Days Countryside Golden ring Deep into Russia All year

Tours  Golden Ring The Small Golden Ring.

  A tour around the Golden Ring with visits to the cities of Vladmir, Suzdal, Yuriev-Polsky, Pereslavl-Zalessky and Sergiev Posad. This is one of the main options for a Golden Ring tour (the so-called Small Ring), but with the addition of the wonderful provincial city of Yuriev-Polsky.

  On the trip you will see a whole range of architectural masterpieces in each city. In Vladimir there are the St Demetrius and Dormition Cathedrals, Suzdal has the Kremlin and many examples of wooden buildings, and in Yuriev-Polsky you will see the stunning St George’s Cathedral and its beautiful engravings. Further north in Pereslavl-Zalessky there is the Transfiguration Cathedral which is one of just five original white stone churches of north-eastern Rus which survive today. It was also here that the Russian hero, prince and saint - Aleksandr Nevsky - was baptised. Finally, Sergiev Posad is home to one of Russia's greatest monasteries which attracts thousands of pilgrims each year, who come to pray at the relics of St Sergius of Radonezh. In addition, it also attracts thousands of tourists who are drawn by the beauty of the monastery and its frescos which were painted by Andrey Rublev.

  On your trip, you will see the main cathedrals, historical buildings and other sights of all five cities and find out a lot about the history of mediaeval Rus. You will not be accompanied with a guide when travelling on the route, but local guides will take you on excursions in the cities themselves. At your request and for an additional fee, we can add a guide to accompany you on the whole route. The tour begins and ends in Moscow, but it is also possible to continue this tour further around the Golding Ring or along the Trans-Siberian Railway or with a visit to St Petersburg. 

   Total distance of the tour: 505km -  191km |  314km



 Morning transfer from your hotel to Moscow’s Kursky Railway Station. 

 Lastochka express train to Vladimir.

 Duration: 2 hours

Arrival in Vladimir and transfer to the starting point of the excursion.

 City tour of Vladimir – Vladimir was once the mediaeval capital of the Russian state and so is an important city in terms of Russian history. The highlights of this tour include:

  • Dormition Cathedral - the main cathedral of the city. For over 200 years this cathedral held the revered Our Lady of Vladimir Icon, which Prince Andrey Bogolyubsky brought from Vyshgorod in Ukraine to Vladimir. The icon was later transferred to Moscow and can now be seen in the Tretyakov Gallery. According to legend, the icon was created by Luke the Evangelist.
  • Golden Gates - a rare monument of Russian 12th-century defensive architecture and all that remains of the walls which once surrounded Vladimir.
  • St Demetrius’ Cathedral - one of the most remarkable monuments of mediaeval Rus. It was built in the 1190s as a palace temple of Grand Prince Vsevolod the Big Nest of Vladimir and is decorated on the outside with engravings of plants and animals, while the interior still retains fragments of frescos by Andrey Rublev.

 Duration: 2 hours |  Transportation: by car

 Transfer from Vladimir to your hotel in Suzdal.

 Distance: 40km

 Night in Suzdal.



  Breakfast in the hotel.

  City tour of Suzdal - Suzdal is perhaps the highlight of the Golden Ring, as the whole city is an open-air museum thanks to it being practically unspoiled by modernisation and industrialisation. The highlights of the tour are:

  • Suzdal Kremlin - this is the oldest part and historical core of the city. Although the kremlin's walls no longer stand, parts of the earthen mound fortifications do remain. The buildings inside the kremlin are now used as museums.
  • Nativity Cathedral (1222) – the kremlin’s cathedral is the Nativity Cathedral and the current version stands on the place of an 11th century version which was built on the orders of Vladimir Monomakh. The interior features stunning frescos as well as a necropolis where the sons of Yury Dolgoruky have been interred along with several members of various noble families from Suzdal.
  • Spaso-Yefimiev Monastery (1352) – this is the largest monastery in Suzdal and with its large fortified walls it is often mistaken for being the Suzdal Kremlin. Today it is a museum with various exhibitions including its main cathedral with its amazing frescos.
  • Museum of the Wooden Architecture and Peasant life – this collection of wooden buildings, including churches and windmills, from various parts of European Russia is one of the best of architectural museums in Russia. It now resembles a village in itself made up of beautiful examples of 17th - 19th century wooden buildings which have been brought here to protect them from fire or from being dismantled.
  • Trading Rows (1812) – Suzdal’s set of trading rows are still used for their original purpose and a souvenir market is held outside where you can buy a whole range of souvenirs, including bottles of the mead for which Suzdal is famed.

  Duration: 3½ hours |   Transportation: by a private car

Russian lunch.

 Night in Suzdal.


Yuriev Polsky

  Breakfast in the hotel.

 Transfer from Suzdal to Yuriev-Polsky.

During the transfer, you will pass through the territory known as Opolye where the landscape is not at all typical for the north-eastern part of European Russia and is characterised by its open fields and wide-open spaces.

 Distance: 60km

City tour of Yuriev-Polsky - this tour includes the following main sights:

  • The Kremlin mounds and the Mikhailo-Arkhangelsky Monastery – this monastery, located within the earthen mounds which are all that remain of the city’s kremlin, has been destroyed and rebuilt several times over the centuries. The buildings of the surviving building date from the 17th and 18th centuries.
  • St George’s Cathedral – the most famous sight in the city. It was originally built in 1234, becoming the last cathedral to be built in Rus before the Mongol-Tatar Invasion.  Stone carvings were a popular decoration on cathedrals in mediaeval Vladimir-Suzdal and they can be seen covering half of St Demetrius’s Cathedral in Vladimir and also feature on the Intercession Church on the Nerl in Bogolyubovo. However, the art form reached its peak on St George’s Cathedral in Yuriev-Polsky as they cover the whole exterior of the building. They depict plants and animals, including, rather surprisingly for a 13th-century Russian church, an elephant. Try and find it, and there is a prize awaiting for the first one to find it unaided!

Free time for lunch and walking around the city independently.

 Transfer to from Yuriev-Polsky to Pereslavl-Zalessky.

 Distance – 70km

   Arrive in Pereslavl-Zalessky and check-in at the hotel. Night in Pereslavl-Zalessky.



  Breakfast in the hotel.

 City tour around Pereslavl-Zalessky - on this tour you will see:

  • Uspensky Goritsky Monastery – the most beautiful monastery in Pereslavl-Zalessky which stands on a hill overlooking the city. Today it is the main museum-reserve in Pereslavl.
  • Earthen Mounds – these 12th century mounds were once the base for defensive kremlin walls which marked the boundaries of the city. Located inside the mounds is Red Square which has several ancient cathedrals.
  • Transfiguration Cathedral - this 12th century cathedral is one of the main sights of Pereslavl-Zalessky and the oldest surviving building in the city and indeed the oldest surviving example of ancient Vladimir-Suzdal architecture. It is one of the first stone monuments to be constructed in the mid-12th century after a long break in construction work following the death of Vladimir Monomakh. (CLOSED FROM OCTOBER TO MAY)
  • Nikitsky Monastery – this is the oldest monastery in Pereslavl-Zalessky and is believed to have been founded in the 12th century and named in honour of St Nicetas (Nikita) of Pereslavl. St Nicetas was a stylite, which meant he enclosed himself at the top of a pillar, and his reputation as a healer bought fame to the monastery. In the 15th century the monastery came under the patronage of Ivan the Terrible, who believed that prayers held at the monastery helped cure his son.
  • Peter the Great’s Boat Museum-Estate – in 1692 a young Peter the Great came to Pereslavl to test out his toy flotilla which became the first naval flotilla in Russia. The boat Fortuna is the only surviving vessel from this toy flotilla which you can see preserved at this museum.

Duration:  3½ hours  |  Transportation: by a private car

 Excursion to a local farmer where you can lear about Russian rural life and enjoy a farmer dinner.

 Night in Pereslavl


sergiev posad

  Breakfast in the hotel.

  Transfer from Pereslavl-Zalessky to Sergiev Posad.

 Distance – 70km

Guided tour around the Troitse-Sergieva Lavra – this includes a visit to three of its churches:

  • Trinity Cathedral (1422) – a masterpiece of Russian architecture and the oldest surviving building inside the monastery. It is here that the relics of St Sergius are held. The cathedral’s ancient iconostasis also holds icons which were painted by Andrey Rublev and his pupils.
  • Dormition Cathedral (1559-1585) – built on the orders and using the donations of Ivan the Terrible taking the Moscow Kremlin’s Dormition Cathedral as an example.
  • St Sergius’ Church and Refectory (1686-1692) - here you will see the stunning Moscow-baroque style interior which has one of the most beautiful carved iconostases in Russia.

 Duration: 1½h

Master class on painting a Russian doll.

 Transfer from Sergiev Posad to Moscow. It can take up to 2 hours to get to Moscow depending on traffic.  

 Distance – 70km


  • The tour is available the whole year round starting on any day, but please take into account that the museum’s working hours and days-off vary so we reserve the right to change the itinerary while trying to save the excursion programme.
  • Optional excursions should be booked before the start of the tour to schedule the itinerary.
  • Tickets to museums cannot be sold without an excursion with a guide.
  • In cities of the Golden Ring where there are no 4 star hotels, the calculation includes hotels of 4 stars.
  • All excursions/guided tours included in the itinerary are private which means private guides and private transport along the programme - unless otherwise stated.
  • Best time to travel on this route: from the end of April to mid-October and from December to mid-March.






Date of the tour


Number of travellers

Children (6-16):


Cost of the tour in
  • Individual excursions according to the programme.
  • Entrance tickets to the museums - skip the line (where available)
  • Meal where stated in the itinerary
  • Transfers in a private car according to the programme.
  • Railway tickets from Moscow to Vladimir in 2nd class of High-Speed train
  • Accommodation in a hotel of a category of your choice, central location, standard DBL rooms with breakfast.
  • 24h emergency support during the tour
  • Visa support documents
Not included
  • Meals (except for breakfast and lunches where stated).
  • Tips for the guides and drivers.
  • Optional excursions.
Country of residence
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